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Library exhibits ironing boards as canvas for saints

March  05, 2013

A one-of-a-kind art exhibit of female Catholic saints – burned into wooden ironing boards – is on display through Friday, May 17, on the second floor of Augustana College’s Thomas Tredway Library, (3435 9½ Ave.).

The Wisconsin artist behind this unique collection, Kat Hustedde, will discuss her work at 4 p.m., March 25, in the library next to her exhibit. Her retrospective is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is called “Burning Truths: A Woman’s Work.” The artist said she chose to burn her images onto antique ironing boards as symbols of womanhood, domesticity and labor. The images are female saints that Hustedde prayed to in her youth. As an adult, she developed an interest in womanhood and religion, and now sees that many of these saints deal with women’s issues such as fertility, marriage, domestic violence, pregnancy, penitence and housework.

“By conjuring their likenesses, I am venerating them,” she said, “but in a way far removed from the prayerfulness of when I was a practicing Catholic. I acknowledge their existence as women who faced great hardship and conflict, more than as metaphysical beings.”

Hustedde is an artist living and working in the Milwaukee area and also is a high school art teacher. She completed a master’s degree in visual studies at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833